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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Choices We Make

ISBN: 9780778318934

Publisher: MIRA

Publication Date: 7/12/2016

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars Featured Weekend Read Following her critically acclaimed debut novel Come Away with Me, Karma Brown returns with an unforgettable story that explores the intricate dynamics between friends and mothers. Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate's skirt with a mirror. While they've been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can't help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.

She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah's heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it's Kate's turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah's surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.

Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of two mothers, one incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.

My Review

A special thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Canadian author Karma Brown returns following her bestselling debut Come Away With Me with her second unforgettable poignant story THE CHOICES WE MAKE -powerful bonds of friendship, motherhood, and the risks we take for those we love. To further enhance your reading experience, please take note of this Author's Journey to Motherhood Redbook post. (also a note from the author included in the book). Even though this is not her story; her experience, personal connection, and passion --reflected throughout the pages. Commend her for her courage, to tell this story. From love and loss, you will need some Kleenex handy! Hannah and Kate have been linked at the hip since fifth grade, BFFs for forever and promises made. (cute story here). As close as any sisters could possibly be, they are now adults and both married in their mid-thirties. Hannah, and husband Ben have been trying to conceive for years. All avenues exhausted. From treatments, and expensive fertility shots--failed. Hannah and her husband's relationship is strained from all the efforts. Kate and David are parents to two healthy young daughters. Kate and Hannah had envisioned having children together. Kate's heart breaks for her friend, and she is her biggest supporter. From endless fertility tests and the final straw with the news from the doctor, there is no hope left. Hannah begins looking into surrogacy, in secret. Ben wants them to consider adoption, since their last embryo did not work. Hannah does not want someone's else child. She is afraid the mother would back out, at at the last minute and more heart break. Hannah is desperate. Things have a habit of spinning out of control, with desperation. Hannah is obsessed with becoming a mother. It is all she can think about. She is envious of other mothers. Even a possible surrogacy effort gets shut down due to discrimination--she is depressed and grieving for her loss. Kate’s heart breaks for her best friend. She has an idea. She gets checked out by the doctor, and runs it by her husband, David--which was totally against the idea of her carrying Hannah’s baby. Essentially she would be using her own eggs with Bens. Then she would hand it over to Hannah and Ben. How does David feel about this? Will Kate be too close to the situation to hand over the baby? Finally, David wants Kate to be happy, so he agrees and Hannah and Ben are delighted. However, being close friends there are many lines which could spell disaster. The legalities, moral ramifications, health risks, and the psychological aspects involved. Are they willing to take the chance? When all seems to be going well, a tragedy occurs, protesters, attorneys, media, and friendships threatened. Everyone is taking sides. Families are devastated. Ethical and moral lines are crossed, friendship tested, and the intensity heats up. Kate suffers a devastating aneurysm— and ends up in a coma. Hannah and Ben know their baby is at great risk if delivered so early — something Kate’s husband, David, is pushing for, as he believes removing the stress of the pregnancy could give Kate’s brain a chance to heal. What follows is an emotionally charged story about two mothers — one desperate to protect her unborn child, the other on the brink of death — and the impact those struggles have on their families and friendships. From contemporary, domestic suspense, chick-lit, family drama, psychological, and emotional - a heartfelt story of the fragile ties of motherhood, family and friendship. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. When reading you will have your own strong feelings, when it appears as though Kate is doing all the giving, and Hannah is being selfish and self-centered, not taking into consideration her friendship and love for her friend. My favorite character was Kate! How much is one friend willing to sacrifice for another person? At the same time, on the other end of the spectrum, the powerful bond of a mother’s fierce love for her child. A husband and two children are put in a difficult situation. A position I would never want to find myself in. Heartbreaking yet hopeful. Compelling and thought-provoking! The risks some take to find their dreams. Brown definitely knows how to get up close and personal—delicate human dynamics crossing all boundaries, sprinkled with her heartfelt beautiful prose. For fans of Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picout, Sarah Pekkanen, Nicholas Sparks, T. Greenwood, and Rochelle Weinstin, and those who enjoy life's complexities. After reading, the advanced reading copy, immediately purchased the audiobook, Come Away With Me. As an added bonus, performed by one of my all- time favorite narrators: Jorjeana Marie!

Review Links:


Come Away With Me

Jorjeana Marie (Narrator)

Harlequin Audio (Publisher)

An unexpected journey leads one woman to discover that life after loss is possible, if only you can find the courage to let go…

One minute, Tegan Lawson has everything she could hope for: an adoring husband, Gabe, and a baby on the way. The next, a patch of black ice causes a devastating accident that will change her life in ways she never could have imagined. Buy the Book

Advance Praise

"One woman's journey through grief becomes the journey of a lifetime in Karma Brown's adventurous, heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful novel. This emotional love story will stick with you long after you've turned the final page." -Colleen Oakley, author of Before I Go on Come Away with Me "Come Away with Me tells the heartbreaking yet hopeful tale of a life lost and a life reclaimed. Fans of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love will flock to this novel.... Karma Brown is a talented new voice in women's fiction." -Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List "Karma Brown has written a book that will make you feel like you've traveled the world without leaving your seat. Come Away with Me is full of lush locations, memorable characters, and a turn of events that is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Brown's work is as smart as it is effortless to read." -Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do "I was already emotionally invested in this beautifully written story of love and loss when an unexpected turn of events knocked the wind right out of me. Heart-wrenching yet hopeful, Come Away with Me had me smiling through my tears." -Tracey Garvis Graves, New York Times bestselling author of On the Island

"A warmly compelling love story. Have tissues at hand for Brown's deeply moving debut." -Booklist on Come Away with Me "Brown's novel is cathartic and heartbreaking. The travel settings will make the reader feel right in the midst of amazing foreign countries. The turn of events in the story will leave you in tears, so definitely have a box of tissues handy." -RT Book Reviews on Come Away with Me "We adored Come Away with Me and are ready for more of Brown's powerful, heartfelt prose. She's the female Nicholas Sparks."-Redbook "An involving story suffused with emotion but grounded in reality. Have tissues at hand for this one."-Booklist "A compelling premise with a plot that intensifies satisfyingly in the second half, this book is a good bet for readers who don't shy away from difficult moral questions." -Kirkus Reviews "Brown's second novel is as emotionally charged as her first. The author has an amazing ability to inject humanity into her characters so that they feel like real people struggling and rejoicing. Be prepared to shed a few tears when you travel this road alongside these people."-RT, 4 stars

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown, Narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Jorjeana Marie (OMG my two favorite Narrators on one audio--think I am heaven). Perfect voices for Kate and Hannah. Have also pre-ordered the audio, even though reading the book.

Wow, must have missed Karma's debut, COME AWAY WITH ME. (2015)

Could not get to Audible fast enough to purchase the audiobook. As an added bonus, performed by one of my all time favorite narrators: Jorjeana Marie! Cannot wait to start listening! Buy the Book

Author's Personal Story (Redbook May 2016)

About the Author

Karma has always loved the written word. As a kid she could usually be found with her face buried in a book, or writing stories about ice-skating elephants. Now that she’s (mostly) grown up, she’s a National Magazine Award winning journalist published in a variety of places, including Canadian Family, Best Health, Canadian Living and Chatelaine. She also writes commercial fiction, and is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists. Her debut novel, Come Away with Me, hit shelves August 25th — and is a Globe & Mail bestseller! — and her second novel, The Choices We Make, arrives July 2016.

A former Torontonian (who sought escape from the concrete jungle), Karma now lives nearby in the ‘burbs with her husband, daughter, and labradoodle. When not crafting copy or mulling plot lines, she is typically running, hanging out with her family, making a mess in the kitchen, and checking items off her bucket list. And if she could sum up her thoughts on a life well lived, they would read like this:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain Read More






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